Tourism Minister Bartlett claims ensuring tourism workers have comfortable homes will boost employee morale
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — The government is looking to further assist tourism workers with securing affordable, decent housing through a partnership with the Ministry of Housing, National Housing Trust and other private developers, according to Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.
He pointed to the initiative as proof of the government’s commitment “to assisting tourism workers to find adequate and affordable housing so they can enjoy a more comfortable way of life”.
“It is not fair to ask our tourism workers to be on the job at very posh hotels, villas and apartments and ensuring that guests have a great time by smiling for them, engaging in conversations about how great Jamaica is as a vacation destination, then at the end of the workday, [they] have to be going home to inadequate housing, where they have to struggle to make sure the rent is paid,” Bartlett said.
He added, “There is a sense of dignity and peace of mind in knowing that when the key is turned in that lock of the house or apartment you occupy with your family, it is yours,” suggesting that this is precisely what his government aims to provide tourism workers on the island.
In fact, the minister opined that by doing so, the government could boost tourism workers’ morale as he was confident that employees who have comfortable homes “will give you everything they have” while on the job.
Shorter commute in mind for tourism workers
Under the proposed partnership, units in new housing developments will be specifically designated for tourism workers to acquire, Minister Bartlett noted.
He said this is particularly so for housing developments in tourist hotspots, with the idea in mind being to cut down on tourism workers’ commute since they would be able to easily and quickly access their workplaces.
“So, we are looking at schemes in resort areas — for instance, in Montego Bay,” Bartlett said, noting that The Estuary, Rhyne Park Estate and Grange Pen in St. James were also areas being considered.
He added, “Jamaica’s biggest asset has always been its people. The tourism industry is blessed with an iconic bunch of workers and who have been doing yeoman service for this country.
“I don’t know what we would do without them.”